Both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have reported challenges getting Pirelli’s new F1 tyres to work on the recently-resurfaced Circuit de Catalunya with the new Mercedes W09.

Having opted to split the day’s track running between its two drivers, Mercedes notched up a marathon number of laps on the opening day of the second F1 test with Bottas producing 86 laps in the morning before handing over to Hamilton to stack up 91 laps in the afternoon session to collect the highest number of any F1 team.

Pit lane pictures caught the Mercedes suffering heavy blistering and degradation on the soft and medium rear Pirelli tyres and both drivers conceded it was a worry they shared at the Spanish circuit.

“In these weather conditions we start to really work the tyres and we had a few issues to manage,” Bottas said. “So we had a few more challenges with the tyres than we had last week, but at least now they can warm up.

“We keep discovering more about the new car, learning how it reacts to different settings. We did more than 80 laps - so more than a race distance, a really good mileage.”

Hamilton has echoed his teammate’s thoughts having been critical of the recent resurfacing of Circuit de Catalunya which he felt had “lost character”.

“The biggest challenge we faced today was to get the tyres working properly on this new track surface,” Hamilton agreed. “The medium tyre was difficult to get working; the soft tyre is better for warm-up, but suffered with degradation. We are learning all the time.

“It's been a good day. We've got through everything we needed and put good mileage on the car - it's been productive.”

Mercedes will continue to split its driver duties per day between Bottas and Hamilton for the final three days of 2018 F1 pre-season testing at Circuit de Catalunya which concludes this Friday.



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